View Full Version : Behind the Wheel with Mark Allen Powered by Optima Batteries

04-27-2016, 11:08 AM

Making Each Day Count
Mark Allen- A Behind the Wheel Feature Powered by Optima Batteries
Written By Brandy Phillips
Photos By Terry Lysak, Brandy Phillips, Mark Allen & Natalie Allen

a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being

Many of you might be asking why I am starting with a vocabulary lesson. Some may have heard of the word above, but
as for myself, I have never heard this word used before. I had recently Googled the effects of engaging in a hobby on
one’s life. I had come across this word and felt it was an appropriate term that could be correlated with our pro-touring
community. For many, wrenching on cars, racing them and even building them could easily be considered a eustress.
Though some may argue that building a car or prepping for a race is not a positive effect on one’s health; that is up for
debate. When you talk with someone who has been through a great amount of distress in their life, building cars,
regardless the troubles, and racing them, regardless the results, is arguably a eustress.


Life has a funny way of guiding people in one direction or another. For Mark Allen, he got a second chance at life and is
making the most out of it. Mark has been a longtime member of the pro-touring community, but his passion for cars did
not start there. Mark has embraced several forms of motorsports over the years starting with drag racing then venturing
into off road racing. He even joined an off road team in the late 80’ and early 90’s that ran SCORE.


As the pro-touring scene started to grow, it sparked Mark’s interest, making him rethink his plans for a complete original
restoration on his 1967 Camaro. Mark liked the idea of a pro-touring Camaro, which allowed him to keep that traditional
look, but make the car handle like a newer vehicle.


Mark and his wife Jenny purchased their 1967 Camaro back in 1998. After a minor accident in the car that same year,
Mark and Jenny decided to restore the car back to its original state. Seven years after the purchase of the Camaro, Mark
started to put money aside to make some mechanical and drivability changes. Unfortunately, life had a way of telling Mark
it was not the right time to focus on his Camaro. In September of 2006, Mark was hospitalized while undergoing an
operation to put nine stints into two of the major arteries feeding his heart. The money that had been set aside for the
Camaro was used to pay his medical bills. The dream of restoring the ’67 Camaro quickly slipped away as Mark fought for
his life.


While in the hospital, Mark was approached by some family and friends who wanted to do something special for him. The
idea was presented to “overhaul” Mark’s ’67 Camaro. Though Mark could not do any physical labor on the car, changes
made to the Camaro would still be under his direction. The next three years were difficult for Mark. He was in and out of
the hospital with continuous heart problems, unable to do much work on the Camaro himself. Family and friends continued
to make Mark’s dream a reality, as they worked diligently to get the project done so Mark could drive the car.


Now this is where I would like to pause for a moment and return back to our vocabulary lesson. You may have caught on
to how Mark Allen and the term eustress go hand-in-hand. See, Mark suffered a great distress. After 34 years in
construction, he retired with the dream of enjoying the rest of his life. Unfortunately, Mark’s health took a turn for the
worse, leaving his family and friends questioning if there would be a positive outcome.


When I see Mark at an event and something happens to his car, Mark handles it very well. When Mark did not make it
into the Goodguys Duel in the Desert Shootout last year, he was bummed, but not overly upset. He took advantage of
being disqualified and entered the Camaro into the show, winning the Pros Pic Award. Regardless what happens, Mark
makes sure that his automotive hobby remains a eustress. Yes, Mark has to take it easy when racing due to his heart
condition and sometimes he pushes beyond his physical limits, but the concept of engaging in a hobby is a positive
influence in Mark’s life.


Though it can be very frustrating working on a car and extremely stressful to prepare for an upcoming race, no one is
getting paid a ridiculous amount of money at the end of the day. We engage in the pro-touring community and attend
pro-touring race events because we enjoy doing so. In a sense, Mark’s participation has most likely helped his health in
some ways.


When I asked Mark what advice he would give to those looking to join our community and come out to race, his first
comment was “there is no need to be talented or have a car that is capable.” As a spectator, many would say this is
absolutely not true. As a driver who has been racing Goodguys events for nine years, I can remember when most of the
participants were not all that great of drivers with cars that weren’t capable of a whole lot, especially when you compare
it to today’s group of people are cars. Don’t get me wrong, some of those drivers who helped start the pro-touring race
scene had a great amount of experience in other forms of racing, but put them on an autocross track and we all looked
ridiculous, knocking down a bunch of cones while our cars pushed like crazy around the track. It took time to learn about
autocross and years to expand product lines that offered competitive parts for pro-touring racers. I could agree that it is
hard for spectators to come out and participate in an almost stock vehicle with little-to-no autocross experience, especially
when they watch some of these competitive drivers come out and dominate the event. Yet look at Mark Allen and his 1967
Camaro. Mark is an extremely talented driver with a beautiful and well equipped car, but he does not come to these race
events with only one goal, to win. He comes out because he loves seeing his friends, meeting new people and occupying
his time at the autocross rather than sitting beside his car in a grassy field for three days.


Mark followed his previous comment with another word of advice. “Just a love of cars and the desire to have fun is all you
need to start racing. After all, that’s where I started. All involved will assist you on achieving whatever level you can push
yourself to.” (Mark) While at a Goodguys event, Mark is usually surrounded by friends and family. If you come across
Mark in the pits, he almost always has a smile on his face and spends a good amount of his time talking to anyone that
will listen (which is not a bad thing). He goes out to a Goodguys events, tries his best and makes the most out of his time
there. Mark embodies the true passion for the community and the sport and it shows, especially at these events.


I was lucky enough to have dinner with Mark, Jenny, their daughter Natalie and soon-to-be son-in-law Chris. Unlike
Goodguys Del Mar, there was no huge crowd, big buffet or cornhole boards scattered in the RV lot. I can truly say that it
was one of the best evenings I have had in a very long time. None of our vehicles were working properly and the day
hadn’t gone as planned, but we were able to get together regardless the circumstances and have an amazing evening
laughing, sharing memories and telling old stories. Personally I would rather have spent my evening with the Allen family
than wrenching on my truck to get it to go faster. When you think about it, isn’t that what this sport is truly about?


I asked Mark who he would like to thank. Mark’s family was first on his list. It is amazing to watch the support that Jenny,
Natalie and Chris give Mark during a Goodguys autocross. At times the whole family would venture over to the C10R to
check how I was doing during the Scottsdale event. More often than not, I was overly frustrated with the truck and not be
in the best of moods. Their positive energy would rub off, helping me acknowledge my negative attitude. Have you ever
tried to stay mad while surrounded by positive people? It is extremely hard to maintain that negative attitude, especially
around Mark Allen and his family. Mark also recognized his friends and the pro-touring community. The opportunity to
meet new people, make new friends and enjoy life is important to Mark. After all he has been through, making the most
out of the time left is Mark’s ultimate goal.


Mark has been part of the pro-touring community long before most others started to race at these Goodguys events. He
has seen the evolution of the sport over the years and can probably remember a time when there were only about a dozen
cars at Goodguys Scottsdale lined up against the back fence ready to hit the autocross. Though the sport has evolved and
much has changed, Mark continues to participate in these events, regardless if he wins or if he has the fastest car out on
track. He simply comes out because he enjoys this hobby and loves being surrounded by family and friends.


So in the end, I think Mark is on to something that many of us need to remember. Maybe it isn’t all about winning or who
was faster or how well we did. Though many of us may be focused only on the race, making changes to go faster or
constantly checking who is in first place, spectators are watching whether we acknowledge it or not. They can see if we
are having fun, if we are struggling and frustrated or when we are having a bad day. Our emotions as drivers influence
those around us.


Unfortunately, this is not NASCAR and most of us are not famous race car drivers. Our races are typically not televised
and there’s not a big paycheck at the end of the day. Our sport allows for anyone to join, regardless their level of expertise
or their vehicle. That is what sets us apart from other types of motorsports. What we do is a hobby and it is a passion.
Those like Mark Allen remind me of that everyday. As I struggled to fix my truck and get a faster in Scottsdale, Mark was
a good reminder to stop, relax and enjoy what was around me. Sometimes life has different plans for us, so enjoy what
you are doing today and look forward to the opportunities of tomorrow. If you forget this, as I have done in the past, I
don’t think Mark will mind if you use him as a reminder of what this sport it truly about.


After 20 stints and a lot of hospital visits, Mark is still going strong and continues to race at the local Goodguys Scottsdale
autocross events. We look forward to watching Mark continue his automotive and racing passion and can’t wait to see him
out at the next Goodguys Scottsdale show.


1967 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS

ENGINE: 540 C.I.

ENGINE DETAILS: Shafiroff built with a Merlin block, Dart pro series heads breathing through an Edlebrock air gap
intake with a Demon 1,050 CFM carb. Lemon’s built headers expel the gases while MSD distributor with a 6AL box provide
the fire.

HORSEPOWER / TORQUE: 730 Horse - 728 ft lbs

TRANSMISSION: D&D built Tremec 6 speed built to Viper specs

CLUTCH: 11” McCleod

EXHAUST: 3” exhaust passes through MagnaFlow mufflers

DIFFERENTIAL: DSE built fab 9 narrowed 2” from stock with 3.73 posi. DSE sub frame connectors with their mini tub
kit and 3” drop leaf springs round up the rear end.

BRAKES: DSE front sub frame no.3 with Baer disc brakes front and rear. ABS Power Brakes supplied the electric assisted
power master cylinder and booster.

WHEELS: Boze Forged with 17” x 9 in front and 18” x 11.5 rear with custom SS center caps.

TIRES: BFG G-Force Rival 245-40-R17 Front / 315-30-R18 Rear

BODY / PAINT: Completed by Matt Myers with Kandy Shop Creations in Mesa, Arizona. Done is House of Kolor True Blue
Pearl with custom blended gray/silver accents.

INTERIOR: Completed by Tooter Weaver Upholstery in Mesa, Arizona. Done in a gray pleather with blue accents.

GAUGES: Autometer installed into modified stock locations.

SEATS: Modified originals

OTHER MODIFICATIONS: Stereo installed by KarTunes in Tempe, Arizona. Sony deck with JIL amps, Memphis speakers
including an 8” sub woofer mounted in the trunk.

2010 Super Chevy Gold win
2010 Goodguys March Scottsdale Street Machine win
2010 Goodguys Colorado Finalist for Muscle Machine of the Year
2013 Goodguys Southwest Nationals Cool Camaro Award
2014 Goodguys Duel in the Desert Finalist
2015 Goodguys Scottsdale Pros Pic win

Mark Allen's 1967 Camaro in 2008

1967 Camaro during the 2009 Show/ Race Season

Mark Allen's 1967 Camaro in 2010

2015 Duel in the Desert Shootout qualifying laps

2016- As Mark Allen's 1967 Camaro sits today




04-27-2016, 11:56 AM
You are so awesome Brandy as a writer a mother a driver and a friend. Thank you so much for wonderful words and for letting us crash yours and Robs party when we come over unannounced. I love the article.

04-27-2016, 12:10 PM
great write up about a awesome dude I'm just lucky to know!

Pontiac Chris
04-27-2016, 02:41 PM
Great write up Brandy, about a great man and great family, its an honor to call you guys friends.

04-27-2016, 03:55 PM
Great story! Mark is an amazing friend and competitor who brings so much to our community.

04-28-2016, 02:42 AM
I have never met Mark before but I now feel like I know him at least a little from reading Brandy's story. Would love to meet and get to know you better in person some day Mark.

04-29-2016, 04:59 AM
Great guy, with a wonderful and supporting family. I have to tell a little story to shed some more light on marks passion for cars and life. A few years ago in Scottsdale we were in the campground area and met Mark and his family. He really welcomed us into his group of friends. Later that weekend I was helping him with the Camaro on the Auto-x track and after some runs and watching him run, I went for a ride with him. To say that a 650 + HP big block is a handfull on the track is an understatement, and the throttle pedal he had made it even harder. At the end of the run we stopped in the box, and Mark reached into the ashtray and pulled out a pill bottle and put a nitro tab under his tongue. - this kinda freaked me out - "Wow, that gets me really excited" he said. He must have been more alive at that moment than most of us ever get to be. The smile never leaves his face all day, and no matter what obstacle is blocking his progress, he just calmly works around it. I did drive the car a few times, and learned that Mark has some pretty good skills wheeling all that torque. Thanks Brandy for doing this story on such a deserving family. Hope to see you soon Mark.

05-04-2016, 06:59 AM
Thank you Lance looking forward to meeting you someday. Love your car

05-04-2016, 07:01 AM
Thank you so much Rob.that was a great weekend and I can not thank you enough for all your wonderful advice. BTW not sure if you heard Crosby now is working on our Nomax.

Mike H
12-03-2016, 10:11 PM
Congratulations Mark! Great write up Brandi. Great talking to you both at Goodguys. I hope to see you at more events.